Knittin' mittens for ma kittens!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Itchy fingers

I'm very close to the end of the Norwegians. It seems like this second one knit up so fast compared to the first--probably because it didn't need to be frogged and restarted twice over. Unfortunately it appears that the Variable Gauge Fairy (as my dear secret pal Jen and I referred to it) has decided to pay me a visit. It's subtle, but this second stocking is definitely tighter than the first, especially in the cuff. However, at this point there's no turning back--it will simply have to do. And besides, both of these stockings will be taking a trip through the washer and dryer when they're completed, to (hopefully) even out any tension trouble spots and especially those ladders. I normally don't get ladders when knitting on dpns, but knitting inside out requires keeping the new needle over the old needle, rather than the reverse, which is what I've found usually keeps ladders at bay. Unfortunately I didn't figure that out soon enough.

I can't wait to start my Lotus Blossom Shawl...unfortunately my needle collection isn't large enough to permit trying out a wide range of gauge swatches, but I have several needles between 3.0 and 4.0mm, and I'm guessing I'll find my sweet spot somewhere in there anyway. I'm going to look for Inox needles at my LYS, since they seem to be the popular choice amongst seasoned lace knitters. New yarn, new needles, new project--this should be exciting!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Project planning: my first shawl!

Now that I'm cruising along on my second Norwegian, I think I'm ready to take on my next knitting challenge: lace. I've tried my hand at Branching Out and had good results, but I'd like to try something larger and more challenging, especially now that I have a big hank of Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace in purple iris just waiting to be used.


I really vacillated on whether or not to make that purchase (even with the great discount that Little Knits offers for Helen's Lace...almost $12 off!) because I was really on the fence about knitting a shawl. Sure, they're gorgeous, but when the hell would I ever use one? I'm certainly not girly enough to wear an outfit that would incorporate a shawl on a regular day, and I'm way too selfish a knitter to knit something like that and give it away.

But the more I thought about it, the more I decided I could get use out of one--whether keeping it in my office for days when the AC is getting overzealous, or for wearing at a special event, like the wedding I went to a few weeks ago. I remember thinking, "Damn, I wish I had some kind of cute wrap or shawl to wear with this outfit instead of the plain cardigan I've got on...a lace shawl sure would look nice..." And that's what pretty much sealed the deal on ordering the skein of Helen's Lace. Then of course began the search for The Perfect Shawl Pattern--one that would look good in a handpainted variegated yarn, be challenging but still simple enough for a lace noob like me, and suit my style. And today, I do believe I've found it in the Lotus Blossom Shawl. I mean, look at this example that some very talented knitter has created--that is just spectacular.

So today I ordered the pattern from Blackberry Ridge, and will be carefully reading up on all I can about lace knitting and people's experiences with this shawl in preparation. What can I say? I'm a thorough researcher. I can't wait to receive the pattern in the mail and start swatching...I'm a little nervous about using laceweight instead of DK weight yarn, so I'll have to experiment a bit. Any advice from seasoned lace knitters on making the substitution?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Suck my toe

Look at this photo, and then tell me if you can spot at what point I stopped giving a crap and plowed on towards the finish line.


Yeah, by the time I hit the toe decreases, I was so ready to be done with it that I didn't really bother to get the pattern to line up just right. The lines that run along the instep are supposed to meet nicely right in the center of the toe, but as you can see, somehow I managed to end up with disproportionate decreases on the instep and the sole. Maybe I didn't have the right number of stitches on each needle, but how the hell would I know? We're in crazy yarn substitution land here! Numbers don't apply to us! We decrease as we damn well please!

Other than that crazy-looking toe, not too bad, right? Looks pretty decent when it's on:


...and the stupid toe will be stuffed in my shoes anyway. I don't particularly like the way the pattern looks on the foot, even when done correctly--for some reason it makes me think of duck feet. Does anyone see it?

You know what's crazy? These colors seem to be breaking the laws of knitting photography. When you're looking at them in natural light, the colors seem to kind of fade into one another--I guess this has something to do with "tone" or "hue" or somesuch color science. But when they're photographed, I'll be damned if the motif don't pop out and smack you in the eye! Strange, huh?

Anyway, just one more stocking to go. Maybe by the time I'm on the toe of the second, I'll have figured out the issue and will have a lovely little duck foot, just as Nancy Bush envisioned! (I ain't mad atcha, Nancy. I loves you.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006





Okay, I am not going to let this break me. I WILL finish these stockings. I will. I'll remember my love for them and how beautiful they will be when they are finished. I will reconnect to the Process Knitter within. I won't let this one little setback ruin that for me.

But the latest issue? That frickin' HEEL. So yes, part of the problem is definitely the fact that I'm using a different yarn and have to wing it on most of the shaping. But come on, that Dutch heel is just crap. A big, fat, flabby square. Sure, I probably made the damn thing too wide because I didn't have any numbers to follow, but still. I'm going to blame it all on the heel style, because I've modified the crap out of this pattern and dammit, I deserve a little credit here!

So here's what I'm going to do. First off, since I'm also winging it on the toe decreases (insert a high-pitched hysterical giggle here) I will finish the stocking to see how the rest of the foot fits. Then, I'm going to have a couple of drinks, and I'm going to rip this bitch back to the heel flap. And then I'm going to do my standard heel (is it a round heel? I don't know, I think of it as the "thirds" heel, where you do the turn across the center third of the stitches in the heel.) And then I'm going to finish this skank of a stocking.


At least I can keep myself going by remembering how much more relaxing and easy the second one will be, now that I've got fair isle down and the pattern mods/sizing figured out. Of course, by the time I finish these it will be so humid and hot here in Georgia that the thought of hand-knit wool stockings will probably make my skin crawl...*DOUBLESIGH*

Monday, March 06, 2006

No, please!! Anything but the clap!!

Something strange is happening to me. I feel like I don't even know myself anymore.

For the first time ever, I'm craving a clapotis. Why? Why me? Why now? Why does this rather humble little pattern, that everyone and their grandma has knit a thousand times over, suddenly appeal to me so much?

I suppose the reason is simple, really. I need something to justify my overwhelming lust for this.